, ^ ^ ^ • <»«
-* ^mifT^-vm --'tSI^B^
^^ - ----^
im;'Aw'. & .'-. ■•:. ■ '
ishing Through Rivers of His
?. ?^^-?^ -.T^*^
" -. ?^
Fishing Throiigli Rivers of Histon
bv Chai'lie Petrocci
At C. F. Phelps \\"\L\ aiul the upper
Raf)paIiaiinock Ri\ er. anglei-s ran snare a hit of"
( :i\ i I \\ ar histon aloii^^ with tl lei v eatel i .
Bass Fishing's Next Generation
hv Diwk] Hart
A new outreach efTort ofTlie Bass Federation
tar<^ets\<)unfran'rlerson familiar "round
school ])r()|)eit\ at the enri oCthe day.
Pack to Sun ive
l)v Gail Brown
I leaf led out for a dav hike!' E\en the most
e\|ierienced hikei"s i*ecommend taking a pack
uTlh essential. life-saxTniJ items.
A \ bice for the Rivers
hv Randall Shank
Foithe past 2()\ears.a small hul dedicated cadre
ofxolnnteers has heen lookiuj^out tor.and
speaking up for. two outstanding ri\ers.
Room Enough ff)r All
Farmland isajirecious resource thai henefitsall
of us. wildlife included. Protecting it from ile\el-
o|)ment is one of the .states manyvisionan goals.
ZL \\ here There's a W ill, There's a \\ ay
l)\ Bruce Ingrain
\ \oung man in ( .raig (!ount\ emhodies the very
hest of the outdoors s|)irit and ser"ves as a role
model to others challenge-d h\ a physical disability.
26 AFIELD AND AFLOAT
28 \\ hiletail Biol<)g\ • 30 Vccommodating Wildlife
32 PholoTi|j.s • 33 On llu'Water • 34 Dining hi
\BOUT THE CO\ ER: l.ai-ciiu.ulli hass. Slon on na-c 10. ' Bill Liiidiicr
Recently I read an anicle in a well-respected publication
suggesting that we have entered into a new era where
man is controlling everything by virtue of his impacts upon the
environment. The concept put forth was that "mother nature is
dead" and that man's direct effect on a substantial portion of the
earth's vegetation has reached a tipping point; one where, sup-
posedly, it is man who will decide what is left of nature. The ar-
ticle made a compelling case of how man, as a species — the
Johnny-Come-Lately to this planet — has had and continues to
have a dominant impact upon our world.
There is no question that we have changed or otherwise af-
fected many of the ecosystems around the globe. Given our
knowledge about current issues associated with the world's
oceans and marine resources, we also know that our impacts are
not limited to land masses. We have altered our earthly habitat,
and we are now experiencing a broad range of challenges, in-
cluding a war on invasive species, water shortages, the loss of
flora and fauna, and related resource issues. The list continues.
I am certainly not a futurist or a doomsday predictor, but I
do believe that we have the power within our individual actions
to change the outcome of this planetary roulette game. By
changing our habits and expectations, we — as individuals and
as a race — can change the outcome. We must not only live this
credo but convince others that our ftiture depends upon our
ability to turn to more sustainable enterprises.
This theme of sustainability courses throughout the stories
inside, perhaps none more so than "A Voice for the Rivers" —
the feature about the Mattaponi & Pamunkey Rivers Associa-
tion — and "Room Enough for All, " about the importance of
preserving Virginia's farmland. Like other stewardship-based
messages, I am reminded of the importance of each individual's
actions, and example to others, in effecting change. Time and
again, it is the rumbling of action at the ground — or grass-
roots — level first, picking up volume as it rises upward, that
forces us to re-think the way we are conduaing ourselves.
Adopting sustainable living practices is both necessary and
exciting, and has the power to unleash our creative human spir-
it. The alternative — living in a world without nature — is un-
tenable to me, as I suspect it is to you.
To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish :o maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; To
provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights
of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; To promote safety for persons and property in
connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appre-
ciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities.
Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGIN]/
Bob McDonnell, Governor
HUNTING & FISHING
Subsidized this publication
SECRETARY OF NATURAL RESOURCEsj
Douglas W. Domenech
DEPARTMENT OF GAME AM)
MEMBERS OF THE BOARD ~|
Lisa Caruso, Church Road
J. Brent Clarke, III, Great Falls
Curtis D. Colgate, Virginia Beach
Ben Davenport, Chatham
Garry L. Gray, Bowling Green
James W. Hazel, Oakton
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria
Hugh Palmer, Highland Springs
P. Scott Reed, Jr., Manakin-Sabot
Leon O. Turner, Fincastle
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland
Sally Mills, Editor
Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Contributing Editors i
Emily Pels, Art Director
Carol Kushlak, Production Manager i
Printing by Progress Printing Plus, Lynchburg, VA
Virginia WiWife (ISSN 0042 6792) is ptiblished month;
by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisherie
Send all subscription orders and address changes to Virgin;
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Copyright 2012 by the Virginia Department ot Came an
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please write to: Virginia Department of Game and Inlan
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This publication is intended for general informational pui
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^ *■ Kelly's for<tJr!r
^^few S^UUv^ (^att & ^»r^^ ,( L.eL ^«^ ^ ^ -
(^ttiUOc/ ■»♦♦•»■» VVwvv^ CPa^a^ ■ • . . • Rjg/u-/ g<&^A^/ly It . . . Jiv>*je^ Q
Map by Sneden, Robert Knox, 1 832- 1 9 1 8, a U.S. Army soldier or employee
by Charlie Petrocci
It was a chilly morning, with fog lilting
slowly off the rock-strewn river. Long-
nose gar ambushed baitfish up against
the bank, fat shad broke the waters surface,
and bullhead catfish groveled along the bot-
tom for unknown edibles. As dawn crawled
up the treeline, large shadows formed along
the rivers edge. Silently these shapes entered
the fast-moving, cold water. Suddenly the
stillness was shattered and the water began to
boil, not from feeding fish, but fi-om horses,
bullets, and falling men. Deer ran through
the woods and the gar, catfish, and shad swam
for their lives.
This was the opening scene at Kelly's
Ford on the Rappahannock River during the
morning of March 17, 1863. It was the third
year of the Civil War, and the Rappahannock
had become the line in the sand for the Con-
federacy during those bloody days of batde.
Because of this, the river was frequently con-
tested and fords, crossings, and bridges be-
came military hot spots. Today many of those
historic hot spots along Virginias rivers are
great fishing hot spots as well.
Numerous rivers in Virginia played an
important role during the Civil War — the
James, Appomattox, and Chickahominy, to
name a few. Anglers fishing these historic
areas today often unknowingly cast alongside
the ghosts of the past. One of the recreation
areas steeped in history is the C.F. Phelps
Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located
astride the Rappahannock River in both
Culpeper and Fauquier counties.
-f Anglers enjoy a leisurely fishing float down the
Q Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford.
VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
C.F. Phelps WMA
The Battle of Kelly's Ford took place on the
western side of the Rappahannock River, in
and around the C.F. Phelps Wildlife Manage-
ment Area. As a matter of fact, the bridge and
adjacent WMA boat slide area are situated in
the thick of the historic site. Just 200 yards
downstream from the boat slide parking lot is
the actual crossing site of the Union cavalry
on that historic day. Behind the sign marking
the site are the remnants of the Confederate
riffle pits which overlooked the river.
C.F Phelps WMA is a beautiful, well-
managed area offering the public wildlife-
related outdoor recreation opportunities,
with numerous places to park and access ad-
ministrative roads. The primary activities here
include hunting, fishing, canoeing, hiking,
and bird watching. Of the 4,539 acres on the
property, over 1,000 of these are open mead-
ows and fields. There is also a 3-acre pond
hosting bass, catfish, and sunfish. And the
sound of gunshots still echo at C.F. Phelps,
though now they come from modern
weapons wielded by hunters seeking rabbit,
deer, and squirrel, or from sportsmen utiliz-
ing the modern sighting-in range located on
One of the nice attributes about Vir-
ginia's wildlife management areas is that
many of them are open for camping. And this
includes C.F. Phelps. This is primitive camp-
ing, so don't expect to find toilets, showers, or
pre-cut firewood for sale. Camping in these
Kelly's Ford. Harper's Weekly, 1 863
The Battle of Kelly's Ford
The Battle of Kelly's Ford was not a large Civil War engagement com-
pared to others fought in Virginia, but It was significant. A classic
cavalry battle, it took place in the fields along the Rappahannock River,
which formed the dividing line between Union and Confederate armies
during the 1863 and 1864 campaigns. And the battle set the stage for the
forthcoming larger actions fought at Brandy Station and Remington Sta-
tion, also located around the Rappahannock. Kelly's Ford was important
because it was the first time in the war that Union cavalry held the line and
beat back Confederate troopers on their own ground.
The riverside battle unfolded because Confederate General Fitzhugh
Lee (a nephew of Robert E. Lee) had been raiding across the Rappahan-
nock, targeting Union Army of the Potomac supply lines. Frustrated,
Union commander General Joe Hooker dispatched Brig. General William
Averell and 3,000 cavalry to seek and destroy Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry. Ironi-
cally, Lee and Averell were good friends at West Point before the war And
on his last raid Lee left a note for his friend, stating, "I wish you would put
up your sword and leave my state. If you won't go home, return my visit
and bring me a sack of coffee."
On the morning of St. Patrick's Day, 1863, Gen. Averell splashed
across the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford with 2,100 Union cavalry troops
and a battery of cannon to pay a visit to his old friend (900 soldiers were
sent upriver). The troopers had to force the crossing at Kelly's Ford be-
cause 60 Confederate sharpshooters held the opposite side. Soon
Fitzhugh Lee showed up with about 800 cavalry to oppose him and the
battle see-sawed back and forth in the fields and woods along Route 674
for hours. (Union cavalry Capt. Marcus Reno participated; in 1876, he
fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn and survived.) Both sides charged
the other with gallantry and by 5:30 that afternoon Averell finally pulled
his exhausted men back across the river, leaving the dead behind. He had
proven that Union troopers could fight spur to spur with veteran Confed-
erate cavalry. And though the Confederates held the field that day, they
did lose their famous artillery chief Major John Pelham, who had joined in
one of the charges. (He was ironically killed by an artillery shell.) And
Averell did not forget his old friend when he left this note behind: "Dear
Fitz, Here's your coffee. Here's your visit. How did you like it?"
Primitive camping is allowed at C.F. Phelps WMA.
MAY 2012 ♦
♦ Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries,
C.F. Phelps WMA:
Includes detailed information on
dates open, map, directions.
♦ Friends of C. F. Phelps WMA
5669 Sumerduck Road
Remington, VA 22734
♦ Culpeper: A Virginia County's
History Througli 1920, by Eugene
♦ National Park Service,
Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania
Military Park Brochure
♦ A Driving Tour of Civil War Culpeper,
Culpeper Department of Tourism
Wade-fishing is popular in the upper Rappahannock River, but safe access will require
a bit of hiking.
natural areas is not for the feint of heart. But if
you want to have a genuine outdoor experi-
ence and wake up in your element, then it's a
challenging alternative to standard camping
sites in parks and private campgrounds.
Though C.F. Phelps WMA is popular
for hunting, there is also access to fishing the
Rappahannock from the property. One of
those areas is in and around Kelly's Ford,
which offers a boat slide for canoe, kayak, or
small tin boat. You can also wade-fish here,
but the steep banks can be tough to navigate.
There are a couple of easier access points from
the main section of the WMA along the east-
ern side of the river, including a trail that runs
adjacent to the gas line. Accessing most of
these fishing sites will involve a litde hiking.
Fishing THE Rapp
The Rappahannock is an ancient river travers-
ing hillsides, farmland, meadows, and his-
toric sites. Its framework is made up of stones
and bones. In other words, it has plenty of
rocks — which makes for great fish habitat —
and lots of brush and deadfall wood, which
also creates cover, but a potential obstacle
course for anglers working its waters.
The birthplace of the Rappahannock
River is Chester Gap in the Blue Ridge
The Rappahannock is known for fine smallmouth bass fishing, but occasionally largemouths
are also taken. These fell for large surface poppers cast with a flyrod.
Mountains. It flows for approximately 184
miles down to its terminus at the Chesapeake
Bay. The upper end of the river, all 60 some
odd miles of it to Fredericksburg, are desig-
nated State Scenic River, and deservedly so.
Anglers fishing the upper end of the river
have a shot at an assortment of gamefish, in-
cluding redbreast sunfish, shad, channel cat-
fish, and its famed hard pulling smallmouth
bass. Besides wade-fishing, one of the best
ways to fish the river is either by canoe or
kayak. The 25-mile run from Kelly's Ford
down to Mott's Landing is the most popular
and scenic, but involves a rwo-day trip. You
can also access the Rappahannock River by
dropping in a boat on the Rapidan River,
which is a major tributary, at the bridge along
Route 522. Possibly the most sane way to fish
VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
Be a Culture Vulture
There are people out there who
you could call culture vul-
tures—those whose passion Is history
and heritage. Mix this with a dose of
hunting, fishing, and camping and
you have the makings of an addiction.
I guess I am one of those addicted cul-
ture vultures because I often find my-
self seeking a human cultural
connection to the landscape or water-
scape I am fishing or hunting in. Those
connections could be native Ameri-
cans, colonial settlements, or historic
battle sites. For me this cultural pas-
sion adds depth and a sense of place
to the outdoor experience. And I also
believe it's good for the soul.
There are many great fishing
areas in Virginia where anglers can
not only immerse themselves in great
fishing, but also in state history. And
there is no better time than now.
since Virginia is in the throes of ac-
knowledging the 125"" anniversary of
the Civil War To celebrate this bench-
mark in Virginia, a state-of-the-art
"history mobile," (a walk-through
truck trailer exhibit) is traveling
around the state for the next several
years, making stops at state parks, his-
toric sites, and museums.
Some of those public areas that
offer fishing and other recreation op-
portunities among Civil War historic
sites include the Rapidan River, Appo-
mattox River, North Anna River, James
River, and the Staunton River, to name
just a handful. And of course down-
stream from Kelly's Ford on the Rap-
pahannock is famous Fredericksburg,
the scene of a huge, bloody winter
battle whence the river once again
formed the dividing line between the
A traveling exhibit is currently making its way around the state in recognition of
the 125th anniversary ofthe Civil War.
the Rappahannock is to contact area canoe
liveries that can help get you on and off the
water. Local tackle shops in Fredericksburg
will have information.
Though smallmouth bass are the most
popular target species on the Rappahannock
today, they weren't there when Union cavalry
crossed the river that morning in 1863. As a
matter of fact, it wasn't until the beginning of
the turn of the century that smallmouths
made an appearance in the river through
"Native fish from the Civil War era on
the Rappahannock included shad, herring,
fallfish, iongnose gar, northern hogsuckers,
chubs, bullhead catfish, and striped bass, ex-
plained DGIF fisheries biologist John
Odenkirk. Not a glorious line-up except for
Biologists studying the Rappahannock's
fisheries since the removal ofthe Embrey Dam
are seeing a shift in populations, including
more striped bass in the upper river
the stripers. "Since the Embrey Dam came
down, we are once again seeing striped bass,
herring, and shad in the upper end of the
Rappahannock and hopefiilly their numbers
will increase as time goes on," added
The Rappahannock is a pretty river, but
may not win any beauty pageants with its fre-
quent muddy water, eroded banks, and crag-
gy islands. What it lacks in looks it certainly
makes up for in angling opportunities, local
history, and outdoor recreation along its
course. For those of us who love the marriage
of history and outdoor recreation, the land
and waters around the C.F. Phelps Wildlife
Management Area beckon you. And if you
are fortunate to fish the river on a cool, fog-
strewn spring morning, listen for the splash of
horses, the rattle of sabers, and the bugle call
of command from Virginia's past. It may take
your fishing trip into another dimension. ?f
Charlie Petrocci is a maritime heritage researcher,
writer, lecturer, and consultant who specializes in
coastal traditions such as fisheries, seafood, and
community fi)lklife. He has lived on the Eastern
Shore for the past 25 years.
MAY 2012 ♦
Bass Fishing's Next Gc
Youth clubs instill
a love of fishing...
by David Hart
Zach Francis admits he was pretty
nervous when he walked across the
weigh-in stage at the National Guard
Junior World Championship in Arkansas
last year. Who could blame him? Just 1 3 at
the time, the Abingdon eighth-grader was
standing in front of hundreds of spectators
when fishing icon, television host, and tour-
nament emcee Hank Parker stuck a micro-
phone in his face and asked him about his
day on the water. Zach handled himself well,
offering a run-down of his techniques along
with his overall thoughts of the two-day
His journey to that stage started in Vir-
ginia. As a member of Southwest Virginia
Junior Anglers, Zach fished his way through a
series of youth tournaments over the course
of several months to win the 11 to 14 age
group in the Virginia Bass Federation's junior
championship. His win earned him a trip to
Arkansas and the right to compete against
boys and girls from all over the United States.
Nicholas Bodsford, of Richmond, also won
the 15 to 18 age group and advanced to the
national championship last year, as well.
Zach's club is one of seven in the state
that are under the umbrella of the 700-mem-
ber Virginia Bass Federation (VBF). All of the
youth clubs are sponsored by an adult VBF
club, which mentors the boys and girls who
participate. In some cases, the adults serve as
boat captains who shuttle the young anglers
across the water during various fishing events.
Sometimes, the adult clubs simply act as
mentors, offering advice on how to be better
anglers for all species offish.
Just For Kids
The VBF's youth program isn't just designed
to groom the next generation of bass tourna-
ment anglers. Tournaments are part of each
club's regular activities, but the youth pro-
gram is much more than that, says Zach's dad,
Andy Francis, who also serves as the club's
adult advisor. Along with scheduled tourna-
ments in which the kids fish against each
other or against other clubs around the state,
the young anglers get together for regular
meetings to discuss their favorite subject.
They also participate in conservation projects
and sometimes they just go fishing.
"We've planted brush piles in local lakes
and we are working on organizing a litter
pick-up at one of the ramps on South Hol-
ston Reservoir," says Andy. "The club is fo-
cused on fishing, but it's certainly much more
than that. When we moved to Abingdon
from South Boston, Zach made some new
friends pretty quick when he joined this
VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ wvw.HuntFishVA.com
The junior angler program does require a
sponsorship by an adult VBF club member,
somediing that can be difficult to find these
"A lot of the Virginia Bass Federation
adult members just don't have the necessary
time that sponsoring a youth club demands, "
says The Bass Federation (TBF) National
Youth Director Mark Gintert. "It's certainly
not unique to Virginia, either. We have hun-
dreds of youth clubs throughout the country,
but we could certainly have a lot more if the
adult clubs could find the time to mentor a
youth club. It's difficult in today's world."
Coming To A School Near You?
That's one reason the TBF started the Student
Angler Federation last year. Unlike the junior
angler program, SAF clubs do not require an
adult club sponsor. Instead, they are school-
based clubs that are no different than any
other school-sanctioned organization that
meets on a regular basis on school grounds.
They only need the blessing of administrators \
along with an in-school sponsor, usually a i
teacher or administrator who understands the |
thrill fishing brings to kids. The SAF provides @
Left, Abingdon eighth-grader Zack Francis earned
a trip to the National Guard Junior World Champion-
ship last year. He competed against young anglers
across the country and met his hero, Frank Parker
Kids in youth fishing clubs learn teamwork and
respect while becoming better anglers.
guidelines for organizing a club along with
support in the form of educational materials
and fundraising assistance, says Gintert.
"We also provide insurance and assis-
tance in planning club events," he adds.
"Mosdy, though, the kids themselves run the
clubs. They make all the decisions and deter-
mine the activides with the help of their adult
So far, t\\'o SAF clubs have formed in
Virginia (one is Orange County High
School), but Gintert, who oversees the na-
tional SAF program, says he's received numer-
ous requests for information and expects the
program to grow substantially throughout the
state. It certainly has in other states. Last year
alone, 300 school clubs formed, including at
least 35 in Arkansas and nearly as many in
Kentucky, and Gintert expects that many or
more will come on board in the coming years.
"I'm hoping we will see school-to-school
rivalries just like we see with high school foot-
ball or soft:ball programs," adds Gintert. "That
MAY 2012 ♦ 11
Nicholas Bodsford of Richmond with Frank
Parker at the National Guard Jr. World
happened with two SAF clubs in Florida last
year and all the kids, along with school offi-
cials, absolutely loved it."
That hasn't happened in Virginia yet,
but if Command Sergeant Major Michael
"Doc" McGhee has any say, it will. McGhee,
who works at Fort Pickett, serves as the advi-
sor to Virginias other SAF club at Kenston
Forest School in Blackstone. He hopes stu-
dents in other schools throughout Virginia
will form clubs so he and his Kenston Forest
students can fish against them in a tourna-
The Great Equalizer
Those tournaments aren't the focus of the
Student Angler Federation, although they are
an important part to many student partici-
pants. McGhee says students only need one
common interest: fishing. But just as schools
hold students to minimum grade-point aver-
ages, good attendance, and other require-
ments for other sports, McGhee says Kenston
Forest students must meet similar require-
ments just to be in the club.
"They serve as a great incentive for doing
well in class," he notes. "That's one of the best
things about this program. A student doesn't
have to be a great athlete or a math whiz to
enjoy fishing. Everyone can do it, as long as
they meet the grade and attendance require-
Gintert says a survey of SAF club mem-
bers in Illinois found that 60 percent of the
students did not participate in any other
Emma Wright of the Kenston Forest Student
Angler Federation Club is all smiles after a
good fishing day.
"That tells me that a lot of kids need an-
other outlet that gets them off the couch and
outside. That's the ultimate goal of this organ-
ization. Fishing is a great equalizer," says Gin-
tert. "You don't have to be six-two and 200
pounds to go fishing. In fact, we have a lot of
girls who participate."
McGhee's club is tremendously popular,
with about 10 percent of the 350-student
body participating, including many athletes
and girls. He admits he was somewhat sur-
prised by that, but in hindsight, why should
"A lot of our kids come from rural set-
tings, so fishing is part of their lives, whether
they play football or not. I really shouldn't be
surprised that the club is so popular among
kids from all walks of life," he says.
Only a handful of the club's members
participate in tournaments, but everyone
who joins does so because they love to fish. Or
they want to learn, which is exactly what
McGhee and Gintert want to see. As partici-
pation rates drop among all anglers, our natu-
ral resources are losing the strongest advocates
they have. As a group, anglers stand up for the
things they love.
The Kenston Forest club fishes nearly every
Monday afi:er school on an eight-acre pond
located on the school's campus, but they also
hold indoor meetings to discuss fishing, fish
biology, and natural resource conservation is-
sues. That's exactly why these and other fish-
ing-specific clubs are so important. Angler
numbers are gradually declining in Virginia
and throughout the country. And with that
decline comes the loss of advocates for fish
habitat and other aquatic resources.
"The more kids we can get interested in
fishing, the more voices we will have in the fu-
ture for conservation, even if they don't fish
later in life," says McGhee.
But don't tell that to Zach Francis, at least
not yet. He probably doesn't know how im-
portant he is to the future of fishing. Most
kids his age just want to have fun, and a day on
the water offers a respite from the daily grind
of school, chores, and other mundane activi-
ties. But some day, he and the other members
of Southwest Virginia Junior Anglers, along
with young men and women who belong to
the Student Angler Federation, will be leaders
in conservation efforts all over the state.
Right now, however, Zach is thinking
about the road to the next Junior World
Championship. He loves all kinds of fishing,
but he also enjoys the camaraderie that sur-
rounds tournament fishing and the competi-
tion that goes along with it. Not only did he
get to spend two days on DeGray Lake in
Arkansas, he got to mingle with some of the
country's top professional anglers who were
on hand to assist in the tournament. He also
earned a $500 scholarship for placing fifth
overall in the II to 14 age group.
Zach doesn't fish for money, though.
There is no money awarded in youth tourna-
ments in Virginia. He does it because he has a
competitive streak in him and, he admits, he
likes to win. Most of all, though, belonging to
a fishing club gives Zach more opportunities
to do the things he loves: fishing and hanging
out with other boys and girls who share his
David Hart is a full-time freelance writer and
photographer from Rice. He is a regular contributor
to numerous national hunting and fishing
FOR MORE INFORMATION
♦ Virginia Bass Federation,
Junior Angler Program
Youth Director Jerry Wright,
♦ Student Angler Federation,
Or call The Bass Federation
headquarters, (580) 765-9031
12 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HunfFishVA.com
^: . • K^
Jim Kelly likes to hike. Elliot Knob,
Yosemite Valleys Panorama Trail, the
Wicklow Way in Ireland; like pebbles in
a boot, each demands his attention. A
hiker in a family of hikers, it's what's be-
yond the tree line, what's at the top, what's down
the next trail that shadows his periphery, that
plucks at his senses. When family and friends get
together it always comes around to the moun-
tains, who's been where, what happened. But
tellers beware: Old stories never die. They hang
around to haunt you, fair or not. Friends say Jim
Kelly has the look, as well as the luck, of the Irish,
with that red hair, that smile, that Irish wit. It's a
lucky man, all agree, who can go off into the
mountains and return without a scratch.
"Luck, " Kelly maintains, "has nothing to do
with it. Just follow well-marked trails and plan
and pack for emergencies." Still, mistakes are
story & photos by Gail Brown
made. A lifetime of hiking is a long time to go
unscathed, the law of averages being what it is.
But be it math or magic, it all caught up with
Kelly one sparkling fall afternoon when he and
son Jake were hiking Maine's Penobscot Moun-
tain. And hindsight being what it is, it took no
time at all to reconstruct the trail of events that
caught up with him that day. By then, of course,
it was too late.
Kelly is right about planning and supplies.
"Planning and preparation make the difference
when out hiking for days or even a few hours,"
says William (Billy) Chrimes, search and rescue
training specialist for the Virginia Department
of Emergency Management. "Of the 100-1 10
or so Search and Rescue (SAR) operations per-
formed at the state level, about ten percent in-
volve hikers. Of that ten percent, most are
day-hikers that made a spontaneous decision to
MAY 2012 ♦ 13
'just go for a hike' and probably did not plan.
They may not have known the area. People can
wander off a marked trail onto a trail that looks
equally worn, thinking it's a shortcut when it's
just an unmarked path. They get lost."
Karen Beck-Herzog, experienced hiker
and Shenandoah National Park public affairs
officer, agrees: "Day-hikers may not have all the
information needed about the trails... You
need a map and should also consult a trail
guide... Trail guides offer descriptions and
helpful information you won't find on a map. "
In 20 1 1 , 68 percent of the SAR incidents in the
park involved day-hikers.
Beck-Herzog also believes good planning
includes what you leave behind. "Most impor-
tantly, leave an itinerary and stick to it. Then, if
something happens, people will know where to
look. Do not continue to move. Searchers will
start at the Point Last Seen (PLS). By not mov-
ing, you can keep the search area minimal."
But Kelly's mistake wasn't one of inexperi-
ence or lack of preparation. His wife, Maureen,
knew what time he and Jake left and where they
were hiking. Kelly did his homework, as usual,
which included consulting guide books and
printing off maps from sites such as
www.hikingupward.com. Kelly had hiked this
trail in the past and knew the entire trip was 5.6
miles. It was not a difficult hike, more like a
long walk, but on this day it was spontaneous.
He and Jake expected it to take approximately
four hours. Off they went.
Karen Holson, the Department's outdoor
education supervisor, has a simple
list to keep hikers safe even if
out for just a few hours.
Holson's list includes: one large, clear trash
bag, a piece of aluminum foil, a fire-starting
tool, a whistle, water, and high energy bars.
"My main requirement before it goes in my
pack," states Holson, "is that it be lightweight
and multifunctional. If the trash bag is clear, it
can be placed over a green plant during day-
light hours. When condensation occurs,
water can be collected. A trash bag can serve as
a ground cover, a sleeping bag, or a raincoat.
To start a fire I carry a magnesium fire starter
and a piece of metal. Fire offers warmth and
can serve as a signal. The piece of foil can be a
cup or a reflector (signal). People might think
they don't need a whistle, but you'll be able to
blow the whistle longer and louder than you
can shout." Holson always has first-aid sup-
plies on hand.
Kelly has all that and more. "My pack
typically weighs about 15-20 lbs., but I don't
mind the extra weight. I have extra clothing
and a small first-aid kit attached to my cam-
era, as well as a fiill one in my pack. My father
started me hiking when I was a very young
child. He taught me to be prepared. This was
the first, and last, time I took a chance."
If what you carry with you is important,
what you wear is equally important, according
to Holson. "Your feet are your transportation.
Some people think they can double up on
socks to stay warm. What happens is their feet
become cramped, their circulation is cut off,
and then their feet become cold. Insulated
boots are a must for colder weather. Holson
also recommends ffiree layers of quality cloth-
ing: a base layer (wicking in the summer, ther-
mal in cooler weather); a middle layer of wool
Karen Holson likes to keep it simple. Things
that make it into her pack are lightweight and
or wool blends in cooler weather; and an outer
layer of waterproof material such as Gore-Tex or
Roy Hutchinson, co-founder of Wilder-
ness Discovery and volunteer instructor for the
Department, believes people might be tempted
to cut corners, thinking the cost of supplies
might be prohibitive. "Sometimes people say
they can't afford what it takes to ouffit a pack.
You have to ask yourself: 'What's your life
worth? Is it worth $40?' You can get all you need
to stay safe at a discount store for about $40.
And your pack won't weigh more than 5 lbs."
SAR teams look for possible decision points such as creek or trail crossings.
Pictured here, K9 Alert member David Fleenor and Ryka.
Park ranger Caroline Garmon (Pocahontas State Park) advises visitors
to "take a minute to obtain information about your hike."
VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
For a day hike, everything you need can fit into a pack weighing about 5 lbs. New signs at Pocahontas SP
(right) detail trail use and difficulty. Black diamond indicates most difficult level; blue square is moderate.
If not the weather, access to supplies, or
knowledge of what to bring caused Kelly's prob-
lem, then what? "I think experienced hikers can
become over-confident. That was my mistake; I
was over-confident. I had never had a problem,
so I took a chance. It seemed like such a short
hike, I just left my pack in the cabin. All I took
was two botdes of water."
While Kelly was over-confident, his situa-
tion was compounded by signage open to mis-
interpretation. "The signpost at the summit of
Penobscot Mountain said: Jordan Pond Cliffs
Trail -1.5 miles. The sign pointed to a trail. The
trail looked equally gradual and was also
marked. The trail we just came off was 2.8
miles." Both he and his son saw an opportunity
to shorten their return hike by over 1 mile. "But
Jordan Pond Cliffs Trail didn't start at the sum-
mit of Penobscot as we thought. And it wasn't
1 .5 miles long. It started 1 .5 miles further on."
"In Search and Rescue situations we call
that a 'decision point, " explains David Fleenor,
president of K-9 Alert Search and Rescue, Inc.
"A decision was made that took the person into
an unexpected situation. Depending on the 'lost
person behavior' profile, we will use these deci-
sion points as targets for 'hasty' or area searches."
"When I had the accident we had done
about 1 mile of the actual cliff trail," says Kelly,
"and we had about another 2.5 miles to go to get
down to the road that we hoped to reach faster
It was a much more difficult trail. At times we
were hugging the cliff. Then we came to a slab of
stone which blocked the trail; it must have been
8 feet straight up. Jake went over the top. I put
my left foot in a crack to boost myself up, but
slipped. I kept sliding... farther and farther
down the embankment. . . until I slammed into a
small cedar. It held. That saved me, but I was re-
ally banged up. I got a deep gash in my knee.
With Jake's help I got myself over the rock. We
had over 2 miles of rugged terrain to go and I was
bleeding a lot. I had no way to help myself "
As Kelly rested on a rock, dismay deepen-
ing, three hikers they'd just passed came rushing
back toward them; like Jake, they'd heard the se-
ries of expletives he'd let loose when he started to
slide. As luck would have it, these weren't ordi-
nary hikers. These hikers were nurses! All three!
Nurses with bright blue vet wrap! Nurses with
skills! Nurses who would bandage him up so he
could make it back down the mountain.
It was a long, painful, two miles back to the
restaurant and a longer night still at the hospital.
"The wound was deep and jagged and required
at least a dozen stitches," says wife Maureen.
"That's the one hike he'd like to forget. But things
could have been so much worse. "
Forget? Not likely. When family and friends
gather — stories, camaraderie, a Guinness or
two — Kelly never brings it up. His friends do. It
seems there's consensus: "Ah, that Jim Kelly,"
they say, "Sure, it's a lucky man, that Jim Kelly
Gail Brown is a retired teacher and school administrator.
CCC Museum I
by Randall Shank
is still going strong
after 20 years
I wait in a duck blind on a cold, misty
January dawn on die Pamunkey River
marsh known as "the pocket." The
wind rushes by like the giant swish of a broom
moving across the brown grasses as a flock of
mallards fly upriver. The chirp of a chickadee
catches my attention when it hops from one
branch to another looking for shadbush
catkins. A turkey yelps from its roost on the
hill across the creek. In the woods behind me,
an owl calls into the morning as if to an-
nounce that the night is over.
The morning symphony continues with
three bald eagles entering the chorus, "Kee,
kee, kee." Hundreds of pintails glide in the air
from one side of the marsh to the other,
flushed from their roost by the eagles. The sun
peers over the horizon and more than a thou-
sand Canada geese erupt from the water and
fly to the cornfields to feed. The noise of the
geese is so deafening that nothing else can be
heard. When they are gone, a lone beaver
comes down the creek, sees me, and slaps its tail
against the water — putting an end to the
morning concert with a loud exclamation
With spring, the rivers change. Winter
waterfowl have returned north and new visitors
arrive. Old-timers say that when the shadbush
is in bloom and redbud is in fioll color, the Pa-
munkey and her sister river, the Mattaponi, fill
with migrating striped bass, shad, and herring.
The Pamunkey and Mattaponi Indians
have always known this and they support the
shad fishery with hatcheries on both reserva-
tions. Likewise, the Department of Game and
Inland Fisheries (DGIF) and U.S. Fish and
Wildife hatcheries have over the years stocked
millions of American shad fiy to the Pamunkey
In summer, water lovers from urban Rich-
mond come to paddle, fish, water-ski, swim, or
just hang out. The water in the Mattaponi
River is so clean that more than one locality has
had their eye on it for a drinking water source.
DGIF recognized the importance of the river
when they recently purchased over 2,500
acres on the upper Mattaponi in Caroline
County for the newly created Mattaponi
Wildlife Management Area. Here, the river is
so protected with forested lands that when it
rains, vegetation catches the runoff and the
river remains mosdy clear.
The Mattaponi and Pamunkey, in fact,
are two of the cleanest tidal rivers on the East
Coast. A local river conservation organization
would like to keep it that way.
A Little History
In 1991 , a small group of people gathered at
the invitation of Jerry Walker and the late
Billy Mills in the village of Walkerton on the
Mattaponi. Development pressures were
mounting in the watershed, and the group
knew the rivers needed a voice. They formed
the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers Associa-
Grain farms along the rivers are important habitat for migrating Canada geese and offer many
hunting opportunities. Duck blinds and stands of wild rice are common sights on a river paddle,
photo ©Randall Shank
This June, MPRA celebrates its twenty-
first anniversary as a river protection group
that has become a leading, local advocate for
its namesake rivers. MPRA is an all-volunteer
organization that focuses on education, recre-
ation, habitat protection, and advocacy to
raise the public's awareness of the importance
and value of the rivers. At its annual meeting
in January, over 70 people gathered to social-
ize, share dinner, and support river projects.
The rivers remain the common bond be-
tween teachers, students, retirees, farmers,
hunters, fishermen, kayakers, riparian land-
owners, and others who were there.
When we walked through the door, I
had just come from a Mattaponi goose hunt.
People were sharing pictures of recently
caught bass, catfish, and rockfish. Stories
about duck hunting and the last river sojourn
were circulated. One of the kids came up to
me and gushed, "Guess what I got for Christ-
mas! A kayak!" There was a shared passion, a
sense of place, a feeling of belonging in that
room. A good friend who recently moved
closer to town and away from her riverfront
home told me that night, "I really miss the
Canada geese. I can't hear the geese."
And that is what MPRA is all about. It's
about loving something bigger than yourself
and doing something for it because you care
about it. If you love something, you are going
to protect it.
River Camp is an opportunity for i<ids of all ages to get in the outdoor classroom on the river.
MPRA believes that catching a fish, gazing at
a huge bald eagle nest, or standing knee-deep
in wetland mud connects the person with the
resource. And so, each autumn MPRA brings
environmental science and watershed educa-
tion to area sixth graders during "River Day"
at Sandy Point State Forest on the Mattaponi.
In one of the classes, local historical inter-
preter Willie Balderson transforms into a
member of Captain John Smith's crew
camped on the river shore. Describing the
students' reactions to his role, Balderson says,
"While in the natural world, students reach a
state of suspended disbelief which takes them
back in time to the way it once was." In many
ways, the Mattaponi and the Pamunkey are
the way they once were.
Because today's kids appear glued to
computers and smart phones, a day away
from the noises and distractions of the mod-
ern world becomes ever more important. At
River Day, a middle school student spent part
DGIF stocking truck, King & Queen hatchery,
makes an educational visit to River Day.
River Camp participants and volunteers.
18 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.conn
An MPRA-led river sojourn is a great way to learn more about the rivers and meet people who care about them.
Photo courtesy of Chris Henicheck
of the time in the shallow waters catching
hogchokers and minnows in a seine net. He
exclaimed, "This is the best field trip ever! We
actually spent the day in the field!"
Another student carried a squirrel skull
that he found underneath a bald eagle nest.
He was going to take it home to show his
family. A young girl yelled, "I caught a fish!"
It was her first one ever.
Setting a Stewardship Example
Volunteers support wildlife conservation by
helping with the annual Audubon bird
count at several river locations. Boy Scouts
and school groups build and install wood
duck and prothonotary warbler nesting
boxes on lands held by cooperating riparian
"We have put up more than one hun-
dred bird nesting boxes in wetland areas on
the two rivers since the program started," vol-
unteer Brad Davis reported.
With a twenty-year history of commu-
nity mobilization for "River Stewardship
Day," the group's signature event, hundreds
of MPRA volunteers gather annually to walk
the shorelines or travel by boat to pick up
trash. Kitty Cox, coordinator for the event,
estimates that more than 2,000 volunteers
have participated over the years.
"This project has been so effective, it's
now difficult to find trash or dump sites on
the rivers. Crews really have to work at it. " On
average each year, more than 30 local busi-
nesses help sponsor and support the clean-up.
Defending a river means taking a stand
when resources are being threatened. MPRA
volunteers have appeared at numerous public
hearings when adverse impacts on either river
appear imminent. The group is currently ex-
ploring ways to gain a nomination for scenic
rivers designation on the Mattaponi between
Walkerton and the Mattaponi Indian Reser-
♦ ♦ ♦
Virginia's population wiO grow. Fish and
game habitat will shrink. Other challenges
will come along.
Who speaks for the rivers when man de-
bates their value? For the past 20 years,
MPRA has been a strong voice in the York
River watershed. Today's young people will
be the voice of tomorrow for the rivers. The
Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers Associa-
tion is working to make that happen. ?f
Randall Shank is a freelance writer who lives on the
Mattaponi River in King & Queen County.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers
Scenic Rivers Program,
Va. Dept. of Conservation & Recreation
MAY 2012 ♦ 19
Preservation Can Help
Virginias pastoral landscape and
farming heritage has been cele-
brated for over four hundred
years, but the eventual triumph of agriculture in
the New World was not always a sure thing.
The corporate-financed entrepreneurs,
roustabouts, and gendemen of leisure who in
May of 1606 waded ashore on what would
become Jamestown were hardly versed in the
intricacies of coaxing a living fi'om the soil.
20 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
had thoroughly settled much of the sur-
rounding region's higher ground with small
As bearers of exotic metal tools, glass-
ware, and fabrics, the Europeans were wel-
comed by the Powhatan with prolific feasts
and entertainments; their wily leader,
Wahunsenacawh, had plans to utilize the
foreigners' superior technologies in his ongo-
ing power struggles against neighboring Al-
gonquin tribes. Baskets of precious maize,
freely given to the colonists, were heaped up
in makeshift granaries; fresh meat and fish
were abundantly shared; and overcrowded
England seemed comfortably far away.
All looked promising to the settlers as
the planting season gave way to late summer,
but the thought apparendy never occurred to
these foolhardy urbanites that the free food
they enjoyed — the result of others' hard
work in field and forest — ^was not a perma-
nent tribute but rather a calculated, short-
term diplomatic offering. When stores
began to run low, the English simply took
what they desired from surrounding
Powhatan villages and farms, leading in due
time to violent resistance and a brief war that
was to end only with the capture in
1613 of Powhatan's daughter,
the celebrated peacemaker
and particularly not the pestilential swamp-
lands of the lower James River. The island
chosen as a defensible setdement had marshy
soils and brackish water and, tellingly, was un-
inhabited by the local Powhatan peoples, who
The days turned colder and the bleak re-
ality of their situation became apparent to
even the most fervent among them. Malnu-
trition weakened immune systems unaccus-
tomed to American pathogens, and the
primitive settlement's burying grounds began
to fill. The settlers had been unwilling to learn
local methods of growing food in the meager
soil they'd claimed for themselves and now it
was too late. They expired one by one, in the
worst of circumstances, until in the spring of
1610 reinforcements from England found
only 50 of the 600 colonists still living, the
survivors later recalling that dreadful winter as
"the starving time."
Farms play an important role in Virginia's economy while offering essential habitat to upland birds
and movement corridors to game animals.
A complete lack of preparation for the
foreseeable challenges that would face them
coupled with a short-sighted belligerence that
tragically alienated their only source of suste-
nance conspired to nearly wipe out the colony
before it could become established, but it was
the absence of a working knowledge of agri-
culture, the only means by which the new-
comers could have achieved a sustainable
independence, that most nearly doomed the
expedition. Not until reinforcements arrived
from England that summer did Jamestown
again become viable, and with the introduc-
tion of new strains of exportable tobacco that
took readily to the colony's reinstituted farm-
land, the European presence in North Ameri-
ca became assured.
Today its remaining farms and forest-
lands still play an essential role in how Vir-
ginia sees itself. Agriculture provides a
substantial percentage of the commonwealth's
economic output: In a study by the University
of Virginia, farming and forestry-related in-
dustries contributed almost $79 billion to the
state's economy in 2006 and provided
501,500 jobs, or 10.3 percent, of total state
employment. According to the state Depart-
ment of Environmental Quality, farms cover
24 percent of Virginias total land area, while
an impressive 65 percent of the state remains
forested with roughly 85 percent of Virginias
forestland under private ownership. It is
therefore the farmer and the private forest
owner that together control the future of both
By voluntarily donating easements,
landowners permanently relinquish the right
to intensively develop their property in order
to protect conservation values such as agricul-
ture, forestry, and wildlife habitat. "We're
pleased to work with localities interested in
preserving their working farm and forest-
land," says Kevin Schmidt, Office of Farm-
land Preservation coordinator at the Virginia
Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services. "In addition to the economic bene-
fits associated with i^ricultural and forestal
use, these farms and forests provide impor-
tant wildlife habitat, open space, and other
conservation values to communities across
In recognition of this. Governor Bob
McDonnell has renewed his pledge to con-
serve farmland across the state. In early 2012,
he announced another $1.2 million in grant
fiinds available for purchasing development
rights, in order to protect farm acreage.
"Those who labour in the earth are the chosen
people of God, if ever he had a chosen people,
whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit
for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the
focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire,
which otherwise might escape fom the face of
the earth. " -n t n-
— 1 nomas Jerrerson,
Notes on the State of Virginia ( 1 78 1 )
Virginia's wildlife habitat and its storied agri-
Many rural landowners are seeking an
affordable way to retain their open spaces.
Residential and commercial development are
gobbling up farms and eradicating isolated
pockets of woodland while larger forest tracts
are being broken up by roads and more sub-
urban growth. The agricultural and timber
industries stand to permanently lose thou-
sands of productive acres to land conversion,
while the ecological integrity of our remain-
ing farms and forests is of crucial concern to
the health of the state's wildlife.
Fortunately for all of us — ^wildlife in-
cluded — Virginians looking to protect their
farmland, forests, and other open spaces have
a proven method which rewards landowners
who choose to keep their property intact and
undeveloped. Generous tax incentives are
available to those wishing to permanently
protect their land from inappropriate devel-
opment with a conservation easement.
Tim Brown surveys his farm in Accomack Co
Two Virginia Landowners
Balancing Farming and Wildlife
Tim Brown farms corn and soybeans on 637
acres in Accomack County. Several years ago.
Brown, an avid wildlife observer and duck
hunter, took advantage of a cost-share pro-
gram from Ducks Unlimited (DU) to install
dams and dikes on the property in order to
seasonally flood 30 acres of marginal farm-
land to attract waterfowl. Today the farm
plays host to numerous species of duck, wad-
ing birds like egrets and ibises, migratory
shorebirds, and raptors.
The Eastern Shore is known for its
marshy landscapes, and while the soil is often
fertile, some areas drain poorly — which can
result in lost crops after heavy rains. This,
however, was an ideal situation for a farmer-
conservationist like Brown, who simply tar-
22 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
Brown seasonally floods about 30 acres of low
lying land, creating waterfowl habitat.
A controlled burn on the Shobe farm in Rockbridge County will rejuvenate forestland and create
good habitat for a host of wildlife species.
geted those areas of standing water and peren-
nial flooding for wetlands restoration. "I get a
great deal of personal pleasure from the habitat
management steps we've taken here," says
Brown, "and I'll go out and watch the ducks
come in at dusk two or three times a week. The
wedands are almost a sanctuary to me. "
By leveraging funds from both public
and private sources via DU's cost-share and
the USDA's Conservation Reser\'e Program,
Brown has partially recouped the financial loss
of 30 acres of (albeit marginal) cropland. A
ftirther cost-saver was his decision to place the
property under a conservation easement held
jointly by DU and the Virginia Eastern Shore
Land Trust, which provided state and federal
income tax benefits.
Tim Brown's contribution to the coast's
wildlife doesn't stop with his waterfowl im-
poundments. Warm-season native grasses
planted along the borders of his fields filter
water headed for the adjacent Chesapeake Bay
of fenilizers that cause harmfiJ algal blooms,
and his ongoing wetlands restoradon benefits
everything from blue crabs to bald eagles.
Carefiil planning and the advice of experts has
allowed Brown to integrate profitable farming
with his love of wildlife — income for the soul.
At the opposite end of the state, Eric
Shobe and his family own a catde-and-timber
farm near Goshen in western Rockbridge
County composed of 500 acres of upland pas-
ture and 1 ,000 acres of mixed hardwood for-
est. Waterways flowing into the Little
Calfpasture River are home to rare native
brook trout. Deer, wild turkey, and bear are
plentifiJ, and rirffed grouse — a scarce species
in many parts of its native range — are being
encouraged with clearings planted with apple
and pear trees.
The property was largely a climax forest
when he acquired it, Shobe says, and was
heavily overpopulated with deer, whose for-
aging appetites were observable in a stark
"browse line' of about five feet from the
ground, beneath which no undergrowTh of
leafy branch went uneaten. Active manage-
ment began by thinning the deer with aggres-
sive hunting, which gave the forest floor a
chance to recover some greenery.
More intensive steps were needed, so
Shobe called in the Virginia Forestry &
Wildlife Group, a land management service
based in Afton that provides a palette of op-
tions for landowners seeking to enhance their
properties' habitat qualit}'. The company's
Brian Morse, a wildlife biologist, assessed
Shobe's farm and instigated a number of
landscape improvements, including con-
trolled burns, small clearcuts, and food plots.
Even American chestnut trees, wiped out
decades ago by an alien blight, are being rein-
troduced as saplings to their former habitat
after years of careful selective breeding.
"Too often it seems like it's one or the
other," Shobe says about farming and habitat
retention. "We've struck a nice balance here
raising catde and wildlife, and I think what
we've done has benefited both." Happily for
Eric Shobe and his neighbors, these benefits
will continue in perpetuity; the Shobe farm is
protected by a conservation easement held by
the Virginia Outdoors Foimdation.
Today, a rapidly changing common-
wealth faces an escalating destruction of its
agricultural heritage, but innovanve farmers
and foresters are incorporating habitat protec-
tion and enhancement into their land use
plans to retain an important component of
their properties. Whether you hunt and fish
yourself you're interested in leasing these
rights out to others, or you simply find solace
in the rejuvenating effects of observing
wildlife for its own sake, making positive con-
tributions to the wildlife habitat on your farm
will have real and lasting benefits to you and
your legacy. ?f
William H. Funk (email@example.com) is a
writer and filmmaker based in Staunton.
Farmland Preservation Program,
Virginia Agriculture & Consumer
Office of Land Conservation,
Virginia Department of Conservation
and Recreation www.dcr.virginia.gov/
\ '■ «.
Craig County s
by Bruce Ingram
Those of us who enjoy the outdoors
have long known how therapeutic
spending time afield can be. For 1 2-
year-old Jake Bostic of Craig County, his
time outdoors has not only been mentally
restorative but also physically life sustaining.
A backstory is now required. When
Jake was six, he was diagnosed with Crohn's
Disease (an inflammatory bowel disease)
that has made him ill and even hospitalized
him at times. His mother, Sue, has a simple
answer concerning what her sons motiva-
tion is to overcome this affliction.
"The outdoors," she said. "The doctors
have used Jake many times as an example of
'if there is a will there is a way' In order to
keep going, Jake puts in a nasogastric tube at
night to feed himself 1 ,250 calories. His dis-
ease keeps him from maintaining weight
"Jake goes to the hospital to help other
kids who have the same disease and gives
them encouragement. Jake will do anything
to keep hunting and fishing. There have
been times we were at a crossroads with Jake
and all the doctor had to say was, 'If you do
this you will be ready for hunting or fishing'
whatever season was in at the time he was
sick. Teachers, doctors, and our family give
complete credit for Jake's current remission
to God and the outdoors."
Jake's physician is Dr. Michael H.
Hart, professor of pediatrics at Carillion in
"Jake is truly an exceptional young man,"
Hart said. "When I first saw him as a patient
he was unable to walk from the severity of his
joint involvement with his inflammatory
bowel disease, one of the complications of
IBD. Jake has tolerated very potent medica-
tions, while never complaining. He has
learned to place a nighdy nasogastric feeding
tube to maintain excellent overall nutrition,
which has helped us withdraw virtually all of
his medicines while maintaining an excellent
quality of life.
"With their willingness to talk with other
youngsters with similar diseases, Jake's family
has been a support to my patients. Jake has
thrived due to his willingness to commit to his
therapy and whatever it takes to get better...
He is an exceptional student and his future is
very bright. I hope he'll choose to go into a
medical field, as I know he'd be a great doctor
Dr. Hart's comments about Jake's school
accomplishments were echoed by Scott
Critzer, director of testing for Craig County
Public Schools. Critzer said that the young
man was the county's first elementary student
to make /)^i^rt scores on all of his Standards of
Learning (SOL) tests.
"This young man has a fantastic work
ethic," Critzer said. "His ability to overcome
his disorder makes him, I believe, a role model
for the other students."
♦ ♦ ♦
Jake Bostic with a fine Craig County 8-polnter that he harvested at age 8. Left, Jenna,
Sue, and Jake hunt squirrels.
Once I learned about Jake's history, I
arranged to meet and go squirrel hunting with
this young outdoorsman who makes straight
As in school and shows market lambs at com-
petitions across the state as his summer 4-H
livestock project; a young man who killed his
first squirrel at age 6, who harvested an 8-point
buck at age 8, and who ta^ed a 1 0-pointer at
age 1 0. Given his taking of an 8-pointer and
1 0-pointer on even number years, the young-
ster had hoped to take a 1 2-pointer this past
season. It was not to be, however, although
Jake did manage to harvest six whitetails.
First, I asked him what he would like to
say to other young people who sufiir from
Crohn's Disease or other disabilities.
"The message 1 would like to give them is
to have something as their motivation so they
can fight what is bothering them, " he told me.
"I like to share with other kids how much I
love to go fishing and hunting. That I live to be
outdoors, and I will do anything the doctors
tell me so that I can go outside. The outdoors
is the best thing there is.
"But the other kids don't have to love the
outdoors like I do to get better They just have
to have something as a goal, I tell them. I tell
them they can beat their disease like I'm beat-
Jake then told of how Dr. Hart asked
him to go visit a hospitalized Martinsville boy
who likewise suffered from an IBD and who
was feeling squeamish about inserting his
feeding tube. Jake did so, put his own feeding
tube in as the boy watched, and then proceed-
ed to tell him about some of his recent out-
Another assignment from Dr. Hart was
to have Jake and his family dine at a restaurant
with a Roanoke girl who likewise needed a
feeding tube. He encouraged her to insert the
tube herself, because her mother had been
doing it for her, and explained how the young
lady could develop self-reliance and become
more independent by doing so.
Of course, Jake has had plenty of oppor-
tunities for self-motivation.
"When I was 9, I was sick during late
summer," he recalled. "Once, I had to leave
the feeding tube in for three weeks, I just
couldn't gain any weight. But I just had to get
healthy because deer season was about to
begin. But I kept trying to do what the doctor
told me to do, and I got well enough to kill a
"Another time, I felt like I was going
downhill and losing weight and just couldn't
seem to get better. But it was spring gobbler
season, and 1 had to kill a turkey. I finally killed
a big gobbler but had to go into the hospital the
next day. I didn't want to stay in the hospital be-
cause I was afraid I would miss the SOL tests.
"So I worked hard in the hospital to do
what the doctors said, I got better, and the
school said I could take my SOL tests late. I
made a perfect 600 score on all of them."
On the squirrel himting expedition, Jake,
his mom, and I hunted on one section of the
property, while his dad and sister Jenna pur-
sued squirrels on the other side. The day was
windy and cold and Jake wasn't able to shoot
any silvertails. I invited him to come back on
another day, and he told me that he would do
better the next time because he now knew "the
lay of the land."
1 expect Jake to conquer those bushytails
the next time he visits, just like I expect him to
overcome any adversity he meets in life —
thanks to his passion for the outdoors. ?f
Bruce Ingram writes a weekly outdoors hlogand
also has four river smallmouth books for sale at
www. bruceingramoutdoon. com.
MAY 2012 ♦ 25
AFIELD AND AFLOAT
Virff-nia Fishing Guide
by Bob Gooch. Updated by M.W. Smith
2011 University of Virginia Press
Soft cover. $19.95
Black and white photos. Maps.
"A book that should be on the car seat of every
Virginia angler. "
- Richmond Times-Dispatch
This handy guide was originally published in
1988. But how times have changed in terms
of the various resources available to anglers in
our commonwealth. With the advent of the
Internet, and with changes in certain regula-
tions, the editors at University of Virginia
Press saw that a new, updated version of this
straightforward, no-frills outdoor classic was
Author Bob Gooch died in 2006, so it
was up to M.W. Smith, professor of English
and proprietor of Greasy Creek Outfitters to
rise to the occasion. This fresh edition con-
tains a quick reference preface so that anglers
can review at a glance the major changes and
additions that impact both saltwater and
freshwater fishing. Changes include 'catch
and release only' designations, stocking
schedules for trout streams, and changes to
laws and regulations. The book has also been
given a facelift with the addition of new pho-
tographs and maps.
Especially helpfiil are up-to-the-minute
appendices that present Virginia anglers with
a wealth of angling- related resources such as:
government agencies, publications and map
sources, fee-based private trout waters, fish-
ing guides, charter boat rentals, and fishing
piers. This is a must-have volume for Virginia
anglers, who, in light of the current economic
climate, may be casting their hooks a bit clos-
er to home.
Northern Pinesnake Watch
You can help conserve and protect the Northern pinesnake! The Virginia
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries would like your assistance in re-
porting current, past, live or dead pinesnake observations. If you have seen
a pinesnake or know of a past observation in the state, please fill out the
form below and send it to the address provided. Your personal information
will remain confidential. Thank you for helping us protect a natural rarity!
Please include the following information in your observation:
Observation location (be as specific as possible): .
County or City/Town:
Snake activity: moving resting dead other (explain)
The below information will be used for confirmation purposes only.
Daytime phone number:
Additional information, such as photographs and/or location maps, is wel-
come and should be included when possible. Send the completed form to
Mike Pinder, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 2206 South
Main Street, Suite C, Blacksburg, VA 24060.
You can also respond via our Web link, at: www.dgif.virginia.gov/pinesnake
26 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
May 18-20: Annual Spring Survey &
Meeting, Shenandoah River Stare Park
June 23-24: Annual "HerpBlitz" Survey,
Mattaponi Wildlife Managemenr Area
August 18: 1-Day Survey Event, C,2\&Aon
Natural Area State Park
More information at:
20 1 2-events/20 1 2-vhs-events/index.htm
Congratulations go to Diane and Johnny
Hottle of Criders for their lovely portrait of
a piebald white-tailed deer. The Hottles said
that they first saw the deer as a fawn visiting
the apple tree outside their sunroom.
Appearing out of nowhere the fawn became
known as "Casper," and visited regularly.
The Hottles used a Minolta SRT 100 35mm
SLR camera, 135mm lens, and Fuji 400 ISO
film. ...film? Great shot, you guys!! I
You are invited to submit one to five of
your best photographs to "Image of the
Month," Virginia Wildlife Magazine, P.O.
Box 11104, 4010 West Broad Street, Rich-
mond, VA 23230-1104. Send original
slides, super high-quality prints, or high-
res jpeg, tiff, or raw files on a disk and in-
clude a self-addressed, stamped envelope
or other shipping method for return.
Also, please include any pertinent infor-
mation regarding how and where you
captured the image and what camera and
settings you used, along with your phone
number. We look forward to seeing and
sharing your work with our readers.
Coming This July!
Change is a part of life, and that's certainly true of the
publishing world these days. So you will probably not
be surprised to learn that this magazine will
undergo some changes soon.
Beginning this July, Virginia Wildlife will become a bi-nnonthlv magazine.
We will add more pages, more content, and more special features— as
we move to six Issues a year: July-August, September-October, November-De-
cember, January-February, March-April, and May-June. This change means
that, even in the face of increased production costs, Virginia Wildlife will main-
tain its low subscription rate and remain free of advertising while giving you
more of the stories and photography that you have asked for. Our goal is to
make every issue bigger and better than ever!
We will kick off the new format with a special feature about the history of
the Pittman-Robertson Act, the legislative lynchpin in the foundation of all
wildlife and sportfishing restoration programs across this country. The follow-
ing issue will include a special hunting guide, running at the start of the fall
seasons. Also coming to you next year will be a trout guide, a fishing forecast,
and a special outdoors guide showcasing wildlife-related recreation opportu-
nities and events. That guide will be combined with our annual photography
contest, to be published in July-August 2013. (More details about the photo
contest will be forthcoming; categories and deadline will change.)
The magazine staff is excited about the new
format and the opportunity to better serve our
loyal subscribers who have supported the
magazine over the past
73 years. We ask for
your patience as we
move forward, and
trust that the new
and improved Virginia
Wildlife will continue
to find a spot by your
favorite reading chair.
J, Naturalist Rally
Komarock, VA ♦ May U-12, 2012
Spring = Time of Plenty c
In late winter as the days begin to length-
en and temperatures begin to warm, the
whitetail's world dramatically changes.
In most areas, over the period of about a
month a deer's routine will evolve from a day-
to-day fight for survival to one of choosing
from a nearly endless buffet of succulent, nu-
tritious food. The animal itself is literally
transformed; its metabolism and activity lev-
els increase significantly and its coat molts
from the highly insulating thick brown-gray
coat of winter back to the much cooler, thin
red coat of summer.
In terms of selection, quality, and quan-
tity, it will be the deer's best food season of the
year. And with the spring green-up, a deer's
primary objective becomes to consume as
much high-quality forage as possible.
All deer have high nutritional needs as
they grow during the spring — especially the
young, and pregnant does. Fetuses that have
been growing since fall begin putting signifi-
cant demands on the mother and grow very
rapidly in the last trimester; bucks need ener-
gy to grow antlers; all need energy to molt
Most of the food consimied will be new
herbaceous vegetation and forbs — perfect
because it is more succulent, more palatable,
and more easily digested. On average, a deer
needs greater than or equal to 1 6 percent pro-
tein in its spring diet. Luckily, much new
spring vegetation exceeds 20 percent. Regret-
tably, preferred foods at this time of year
often include crops in agricultural fields and
vegetable gardens, and ornamental plantings.
Outside of the fall rut, a buck's life is
pretty dull, and spring is no exception. Bucks,
which re-formed all-male bachelor groups in
mid- to late winter, remain in loose bachelor
groups with size and membership routinely
changing. But something big is beginning to
happen. Spring is the season when bucks will
begin to grow antlers. By early March, all
hard antlers from the previous fall should
have been shed or dropped. By April, new
antlers begin to grow from the pedicels on
most males. Male fawns which survived the
winter and are still members of their female-
dominated family group will begin growing
their first antlers at about 1 to 1 1 months of
age. By 1 8 months, they will have their first
set of hard anders.
The antler germinates from a special-
ized tissue that is located on the top of the
pedicel. When environmental conditions are
right, the body sends signals to this tissue and
the antler begins to grow. Injuries to the
pedicel often result in multiple antlers, or
antlers growing from strange locations and
Antlers are true bone grown by male
id Birth of the Fawns
members and are a defining characteristic of
the deer family, Cervidae. (Only female rein-
deer routinely grow anders, and these anders
are generally pretty small.) Antlers are not
horns. They differ from the horns of goats
and sheep because they are made of true bone
and because they are deciduous, or cast and
completely re-grown every year. In some
species, like bighorn sheep, a ram's age can be
determined by the annual rings of horn
growth. A buck's age cannot be determined
by his anders.
Antler growth is controlled by the pho-
toperiod, or day length. By manipulating
light, it is possible to make a deer grow several
sets of antlers in a single year or one set of
antlers over several years. With the pre-
dictable change of seasons, nature makes one
set of antlers per year. At the height of the
antler growth in late spring or early summer, a
deer's anders will be growing nearly one-half
to more than one inch per day.
As spring draws to an end, one of the
biggest events in the whitetail's annual life
cycle occurs — birth of the next generation.
During the final month of spring, the fawns
will be born.
All of the effort that went into the rut
back in the fall was designed to make sure
that the majority of the does woidd be bred at
about the same time (mid-November) so that
the majority of fawns would hit the ground
about 200 days later, at about the same time.
In Virginia, this woidd be the first two weeks
of June, when habitat conditions are most fa-
vorable for the fawns and their mothers. This
synchronized drop of fawns acts as a type of
prey saturation, hopefully overwhelming
predators and increasing the fawn's chance of
survival during the first critical weeks of life.
Good fawning areas or habitat are character-
ized by good cover for hiding the young from
Productivity in female deer is related to
age and nutrition. When doe fawns breed in
healthy deer herds and give birth at one year
of age, they almost always give birth to a sin-
gle fawn. Most does typically give birth at two
years of age and can have one or two fawns.
As does reach age three and older, given ade-
quate nutrition, twin fawns become the
norm and triplet fawns are not uncommon.
A couple of days before giving birth, a
doe will withdraw from her family group and
select a fawning area that will be protected
and defended from all other deer. Family
group bonds will for several weeks to a month
or more be completely erased. This area is
where the fawn(s) will hide upon arrival. No
other deer will be allowed to enter this area for
several weeks. This isolation allows the doe to
develop a strong bond with her young — a
bond that is essential to the fawn surviving.
Matt Knox is a deer project coordinator for the
Department, serving south-central Virginia.
an humans and wildlife co-
exist on a military instaila-
^ tion? Fort Belvoir, a U.S.
-___--' Army Garrison located in the
southeastern part of Fairfax County, strives to
maintain and enhance wildlife habitat, biodi-
versity, and aesthetics while responding to the
development needs that arise from mission
requirements and base realignments. Envi-
ronmental stewardship is a major focus of
Fort Belvoirs command group and staff.
One of the ways that development on
the base affects wildlife is by fragmenting
habitat, which threatens the abundance and
biological diversity of species. To mitigate the
ecological impacts of habitat fragmentation,
larger forested areas can be reconnected by
constructing crossings that allow for the safe
movement of wildlife between such areas.
In 1993, the garrison established the
Fort Belvoir Forest and Wildlife Corridor, a
continuous forest band between the Jackson
Miles Abbott Wedand Refuge in the north-
eastern corner and the Accotink Bay Wildlife
Refuge in the south-central portion of the in-
stallation. The purpose of the corridor is to
prevent genetic isolation of animal popula-
tions by fostering the movement of wildlife
and providing continuous forest habitat for
activities like foraging, bedding, and breed-
ing. According to Michael Hudson and Gre-
gory Fleming in Fort Belvoir's BRAG
Operations Office, the Fort Belvoir Forest
and Wildlife Corridor connects larger natural
areas, such as Huntley Meadows Park to the
north and Pohick Bay Regional Park, Mason
Neck State Park, and Mason Neck National
Wildlife Refuge to the south, to create a 1 5-
mile continuous corridor, which helps to im-
prove genetic diversity off-site.
Current management plans contain rec-
ommendations regarding the maintenance
and enhancement of existing wildlife cross-
ings and identify locations for future wildlife
crossing structures to direct animal move-
ment close to home — across the installations
roads. According to Fleming, numerous fac-
tors are considered when designing crossings
for optimal wildlife use, such as whether
wildlife species will cross at the specified loca-
tion, the crossing will fit into the surrounding
landscape, and the dimensions of the crossing
Wlldllfs Road Crossings
Fort Belvoir Wildlife Road Crossings Map
This map depicts the expansion of wildlife
refuges, as well as the wildlife crossings de-
signed and/or established, on Fort Belvoir.
(Map courtesy ofthe U.S. Army.)
will accommodate the targeted species. Some
animals tend to follow water sources, while
others stick to migratory routes.
The garrison has constructed three addi-
tional wildlife crossings for large mammals,
small mammals, and amphibians to cross be-
neath roads on the installation. These struc-
tures are intended to connect forest habitat
and help maintain abundant, healthy, and di-
verse wildlife populations that exist on and
off the installation. They are also intended to
reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, thereby
lowering the risk of harm to people, animals,
™ This article was contributed by Tara £ Wiedeman,
= Senior Associate and Project Manager at Travesky
© & Associates, Ltd.
30 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
Large Mammal Crossing
The box culvert on the left allows the safe passage of large mammals (e.g., coyotes and
deer) under Pohick Road, between the Staff Sgt. John D. Linde Visitor Center and the Recy-
cling Center. This crossing connects a training area to the Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge and
serves as a stormwater overflow device during high water events. The box culvert on the
right was established to support the normal flow of the stream beneath the road. (Photo
by Gregory W. Fleming, Environmental Specialist, Fort Belvoir BRAC Operations Office.)
Small Mammal Crossing
Since the pipe in the stream channel on
the left contains water flow control de-
vices, a secondary pipe was installed on
the right to assist small mammals (e.g.,
groundhogs, foxes, opossums, raccoons,
and skunks) to cross Gunston Road, be-
tween 1st Street and 3rd Street, and to ac-
commodate stormwater overflow. This
pipe connects a small, wooded patch and
a training area. (Photo by Gregory W.
Fleming, Environmental Specialist, Fort
Belvoir BRAC Operations Office.)
MAY 2012 ♦ 31
by Lynda Richardson
Give Yourself a Photography Assignment: Practice!
While brushing up on my studio photography skills, I asked my Jack Russell terrier, Miss Bug, if she
would pose as a butterfly for me. Thank goodness she's a patient and skilled (though underpaid)
model. © 2012 Lynda Richardson
I can tell that I get really rusty if I'm not
shooting images all the time. As with any
skill, you need to practice to retain a certain
level of expertise. To stay on top of their
game, a musician, a ballerina, or a golf pro
need weekly — if not daily — practice. And so
does a serious photographer.
Some photographers just pick up their
cameras to shoot special occasions, such as a
vacation or a birthday party. I have to say that
if I waited that long in between shooting, I
would forget the features on my camera!
So I like to go out and practice. One day,
I might work on reconnecting with my
macro abilities, while other times I might re-
fresh my long lens flash photography skills. I
haven't done much studio work lately, so I've
been practicing those skills using my little
Jack Russell terrier. Miss Bug, as a model. I
have also been going over my image process-
ing skills to stay current with the latest com-
puter software improvements.
When I used to whitewater kayak, a
"bombproof" roll was an extremely impor-
tant skill to have. Being able to right your
boat immediately after it flips over in a fast-
swirling current is essential and sometimes a
life or death skill. Every whitewater kayaker
practices their roll because constant practice
reinforces the body's "muscle memory" to go
into action, particularly in stressful situations.
Your life literally depends on your ability to
successfully roll your boat!
Practicing photography is like rolling
your boat. You give your hands and brain
"muscle memory" to react accurately and
quickly in any circumstance. Something
practiced becomes second nature. If the per-
fect scene plays out before you, do you want
to be fumbling with your camera and miss
the greatest photograph of your life? I think
not! Practicing your photographic skills will
do nothing but help you become a better
Self-assignments can be really flan and
challenging. Here are some examples of self-
assignments that you may find usefiil:
l.Pick your least favorite lens or focal
length and use only that to shoot for the
2. Pick a location and only photograph
things that are a specific color, like pur-
ple or orange;
3. Only photograph subjects that are
backlit and use your pop-up flash to add
light to them;
4. Hunt for and photograph things in the
shape of a heart;
5. Only photograph monochromatic im-
ages or scenes;
6. Select a 5' by 5' area and spend 30-60
minutes photographing things inside
that space and that space alone.
Does that give you some ideas?
The old adage "practice makes perfect"
has real truth and purpose behind it. You
might not need to roll a kayak, but you do
need to be bombproof when those photo-
graphic opportunities present themselves!
Good Luck and Happy Shooting!
All classes are held at Lewis Ginter Botan-
ical Garden. Go to www.lewisginterorg
to register and look under Adult & Family
Education or call (804) 262-9887 X322
VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
n th6 \A/at6r
by Tom Guess
All Too Often
I often reminisce about my childhood
when May arrives and I walk outside with
sleepy eyes into the early morning warmth of
the sun heating my face. The smells of freshly
cut grass mixed with a hint of onion and other
spring aromas remind me that it's time to start
shifting my thoughts to Mothers Day, sum-
mer vacations, the Memorial Day holiday, hit-
ting the water to fish and boat, and National
Safe Boating Week.
What? National Safe Boating Week?
The National Safe Boating Campaign
and National Safe Boating Week are held each
year during the week leading up to Memorial
Day. This year's campaign rims May 19-25.
The focus is always on reminding people that a
life jacket will save your life and, more simply,
to "Wear It! " not just during this week but
throughout the entire boating season. Much
like a seatbelt, it's too late to put on a life jacket
after a boating accident. A life jacket is vet)'
difficult and sometimes nearly impossible to
put on in the water because of its inherent
On average, 500 people drown annually
nationwide while boating due to not wearing a
life jacket. Here in Virginia, we experience an
averse of 20 fatalities annually, with over 85
percent of them being attributed to drowning
due to capsizing or falls overboard while not
wearing an approved life jacket. A person who
finds himself in the water unexpectedly is 4.4
times more likely to drown without a life jack-
et, even if they are an exceptional swimmer.
It was just one of those warm, late spring
days that I recall while serving in the U.S.
Coast Guard as officer in charge of a station on
the Middle Peninsula. This particularly beau-
tiful day, we received a call for a possible
drowning from a fall overboard. When we ar-
rived on the scene, we were told by the family
that a middle-aged gentleman had decided to
do some fishing in a cove in front of his prop-
erty while his entire family was gathered for a
cookout. While he was maneuvering his boat
to the spot where he wanted to fish, he fell
into the water without wearing his life jacket.
Unfortunately, he was imable to swim
and, to add to the misfortune, none of his
family members on shore — only a few hun-
dred feet away — noticed him fall overboard.
Once they realized he was not on his boat, it
was too late. He disappeared below the sur-
face and subsequendy drowned in front of his
family in about six feet of water. When we ar-
rived on the scene, we discovered that his
boat, a typical rim-about, had all of the ap-
propriate safety equipment onboard. But, as
is the case all too often, his approved life jacket
was on the deck next to his seat.
This is a sobering and all-too-familiar
sight in boating accidents... and a stark re-
minder of how things could have turned out
Remember, while you're on the water
this boating season: Be Responsible by not con-
suming alcoholic beverages while operating a
boat; Be Safe and always wear an approved
and properly fitting life jacket; and Have Fun,
because this is what boating should be about!
Tom Guess, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret), serves as the
state boating law administrator at the DGIF.
MAY 2012 ♦ 33
by Ken and Maria Perrotte
This sandwich is a cross between a taco and a fajita. Guess
diat would make it a "tajita" and it's a good recipe to try
for your Cinco de Mayo table. We tried and tweaked a couple of
existing fish taco recipes, but finally decided to create something
both intuitive and spontaneous.
For this dish, you can use just about any kind of firm, flaky
white fish — from catfish to crappie in the freshwater realm to
rockfish, flounder, and mahi-mahi in salt water. The key is not
using fillets that are too thin. You want some substance when
you sink your teeth into the meal. Also, the two sauce options
are better if made ahead of time. They can be stored in an air-
tight container in the refi'igerator for a day or two.
Get creative with toppings and garnishes. Ideally they
should provide some texture, including a little crunch, and ofi^-
setting flavors to the heat from some of the spices and jalapeno.
Everything from chopped cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, or peeled
and diced cucumbers could be used.
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
44 cup chopped yellow or Vidalia onion
1 cup chopped sweet green, yellow
and/or red peppers
'72 fresh jalapeno pepper, diced or very
thinly sliced (seeds and ribs removed)
2 teaspoons diced rehydrated dried
Mexican peppers (we like Guajillo or
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fish fillets
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt and black pepper
4 flour tortillas, 6- to 8-inch diameter works best
1 tablespoon chopped scallions (green onions)
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 ripe mango, sliced with some slices cut small in a julienne style
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium
low heat. Saute the onions and sweet peppers for a couple of
minutes, adding a litde salt and pepper, until they begin to get
soft. Add the hot peppers and garlic and cook another couple of
minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same skillet, add the rest of the olive oil. Sprinkle
the fish with salt and pepper and cook over medium to medi-
um-high heat until opaque. The fish also could be grilled or
even fried, if you prefer.
Break the fish into ample chunks or strips and place the
pieces in warmed tortillas. Spoon the vegetables over the fish
and place a slice of avocado and a sprinkling of julienned
mango and chopped scallions into the tortilla. Top with a dol-
lop or two of favored sauce. Add bigger mango and avocado
slices to the plate. Serve immediately. Red beans and rice
make a nice side dish. Serves 2.
Sour Cream Taco Sauce
3 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely sliced scallions (green onion)
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
Vi teaspoon lime zest
1 Vi teaspoon diced rehydrated dried Mexican peppers
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
V4 teaspoon cumin
V& teaspoon coriander
Vz teaspoon paprika
Va teaspoon salt
1 Vi teaspoons lime juice
Yogurt and Dill Sauce
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely sliced scallions (green onion)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
Vi fresh jalapeno pepper, finely diced (seeds and ribs removed)
Va teaspoon dill
Va teaspoon cumin
Va teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lime juice
Combine all sauce ingredients. To rehydrate dried peppers,
place in a pan of water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, and
let sit for at least an hour. Slice open and remove the stem,
seeds, and membranes. Guajillos have a strong, papery skin.
If the skin remains tough, scrape out the flesh and discard the
skin. Chop and whisk together or puree everything in a food
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